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Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)



 
 
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  #31  
Old July 12th 18, 06:17 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 7:51:16 AM UTC-4, Tango Eight wrote:
Is anyone else enjoying the irony as much as I am :-)?

Jus' curious.

Goin' flying today (yippee!). I don't plan to spend much time looking at a computer.

T8


No irony Evan. Every software effort has ongoing bugs and enhancements. The fact that Tophat is as useful as it is, while being free, is wonderful. Big thanks to the developers, especially Robert Dunning! And yes we want to look outside the cockpit mostly, but without some sort of glide computer we'd either be lost, spend more time deciphering paper maps, or stay closer to airports to make sure we can glide there.
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  #32  
Old July 12th 18, 07:50 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

No irony Evan. Every software effort has ongoing bugs and enhancements. The fact that Tophat is as useful as it is, while being free, is wonderful.. Big thanks to the developers, especially Robert Dunning!

I agree. I hope no one has misinterpreted my queries and comments. When I decided not to spend the money on a commercial flight computer, I was prepared to live with some lower level of functionality and higher level of UI aggravation. Instead, I've been amazed at how powerful Top Hat is.

I also think the TH team have mostly delivered on their goal of "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler" without giving up functions needed for competition.

I've occasionally brought my handheld device running Top Hat to dinner with pilots who own commercial flight computer systems and passed it around to get their input. Their reactions have been quite interesting. They've seen things they like better about Top Hat while at the same time commenting about things they think their systems do better. I've confessed to the aggravating hardware problems I've had and they've done the same. None of these is perfect. I suspect we'd all like to take the best from each to get the perfect product.

And, yes, all of these products--commercial and freeware--still have some bugs. That's inevitable; our soaring market is just too small to justify the kind of investment and testing that something built in the millions of units can justify.

Indeed, kudos to Rob Dunning's team. I've had the happy experience of seeing most of my issues resolved fairly quickly.

Chip Bearden
  #33  
Old July 14th 18, 08:16 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Soartech
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 11:14:06 AM UTC-4, wrote:

Config - System - Look. It shows up in both standard and advanced menus.


Thank you!

  #34  
Old July 14th 18, 10:02 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tango Eight
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 11:25:16 AM UTC-4, wrote:
T8,

I was thinking about proposing that the ClearNav software be made open source. Then we could all enjoy the fun.

JB


You can't do open source for a secure flight recorder, sorry!

T8
  #35  
Old July 14th 18, 10:20 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tango Eight
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 1:17:04 PM UTC-4, wrote:
On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 7:51:16 AM UTC-4, Tango Eight wrote:
Is anyone else enjoying the irony as much as I am :-)?

Jus' curious.

Goin' flying today (yippee!). I don't plan to spend much time looking at a computer.

T8


No irony Evan. Every software effort has ongoing bugs and enhancements. The fact that Tophat is as useful as it is, while being free, is wonderful.. Big thanks to the developers, especially Robert Dunning! And yes we want to look outside the cockpit mostly, but without some sort of glide computer we'd either be lost, spend more time deciphering paper maps, or stay closer to airports to make sure we can glide there.


Do a search for Chip's r.a.s. contributions as far as GPS vs pilotage and maybe you'll get the irony :-).

TopHat is idea rich and a lot of Rob's ideas are very good and I'd put 'em in ClearNav if I could! If TH works for you, that's fine. Understand that there's quite a lot that CN just does better and it is vastly more robust. One example: What happens if you lose power momentarily with TopHat? Here's what happens with ClearNav: nothing! Task and stats are retained along with the validity of the flight log.

T8
  #36  
Old July 15th 18, 12:39 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
WB
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

On Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 4:20:32 PM UTC-5, Tango Eight wrote:
On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 1:17:04 PM UTC-4, wrote:
On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 7:51:16 AM UTC-4, Tango Eight wrote:
Is anyone else enjoying the irony as much as I am :-)?

Jus' curious.

Goin' flying today (yippee!). I don't plan to spend much time looking at a computer.

T8


No irony Evan. Every software effort has ongoing bugs and enhancements.. The fact that Tophat is as useful as it is, while being free, is wonderful. Big thanks to the developers, especially Robert Dunning! And yes we want to look outside the cockpit mostly, but without some sort of glide computer we'd either be lost, spend more time deciphering paper maps, or stay closer to airports to make sure we can glide there.


Do a search for Chip's r.a.s. contributions as far as GPS vs pilotage and maybe you'll get the irony :-).

TopHat is idea rich and a lot of Rob's ideas are very good and I'd put 'em in ClearNav if I could! If TH works for you, that's fine. Understand that there's quite a lot that CN just does better and it is vastly more robust. One example: What happens if you lose power momentarily with TopHat? Here's what happens with ClearNav: nothing! Task and stats are retained along with the validity of the flight log.

T8


Well, actually, if my Kobo mini running TopHat gets disconnected from ships power, it just keeps on running on the Kobo's internal batteries. Now, if the GPS feeding data to my Kobo loses power, then I have a problem with the flight log, but I don't use the Kobo as my primary logger anyway. Got a PFlarm and a Nano 3 for that. By the way, what happens if a ClearNav dies in the middle of a contest? Do most ClearNav users keep a spare ClearNav around? I got a backup Kobo mini in the side pocket in my cockpit (have not had to use it so far).

This is not to say that I wouldn't rather have a ClearNav. In fact, even though I don't own a ClearNav (at present),I very much appreciate the investment, effort, and dedication to the sport that it takes to develop, manufacture and market the ClearNav or any other instrumentation for the soaring market.
  #37  
Old July 15th 18, 02:53 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

Fair enough on my past objections to GPS. They were, at the heart of it, primarily financial. I tossed an inexpensive handheld GPS receiver into the cockpit as soon as they were legal and happily coupled it to my LNAV with Dave Ellis's help. My real objective was to slow down the headlong rush to mandatory flight recorders until the oft-promised plunge in prices arrived.. IIRC, those things were over $3,000 in the mid 90s. Anyway, I'm nothing if not adaptable: still trying to do it on the cheap! Haha!

I didn't mean to compare Top Hat and ClearNav. I'm still trying to find a better display for TH so I'd love to have a ClearNav. It looks great. And I love my ClearNav vario (not everything about it, as T8 knows, but it's the best vario I've flown with). I just don't want to pay up for the CN nav display.

[I'm waiting for someone to tell me that a few thousand bucks spread over the remaining years of my soaring career is nothinig; or that I owe it to myself; or that CN is safer and isn't my life worth the price; or something "helpful" like that. ]

I was surprised but pleased to discover just how good TH is, but I have no idea how it compares to CN. Pilot buddies who have flown both (or XCSoar) usually say TH/XCS has 80% to 90% of what CN does. If I ever fly with a CN, I might be less happy with TH. It's certainly not perfect, which is how this thread started.

I agree with WB that you picked a bad example in citing a power loss. I, too, am shielded by the internal battery in the Kobo. And I did have a problem with my Kobo in Cordele last summer (not power, but the GPS feed). I pulled my Dell Streak 5 out, slapped it in the X mount, and was in business a minute later (I always pre-load the task in both devices). The comforting thing is that unlike the Kobo, the Dell is completely self contained including GPS, needing only a USB battery pack for long flights. And while I would lose my CN vario's flight recorder if the power went down, my PowerFLARM Portable/flight recorder also has its own batteries so it will keep chugging away until I get home (take that, Dave Kinsell!).

But all is not lost with CN. I know several well-off types who have redundant purpose-built flight computers and presumably separate power supplies. One well regarded pilot I chatted with at Cordele has a high-end flight computer and also carries a phablet running XCSoar: he says each does certain things better and he uses both.

Regarding open source, it might involve rearchitecting the CN to do it, but I was referring only to the navigation software, just like TH and XCS often get their GPS data from IGC-certified flight recorders such as my PowerFLARM and CNv. But with such a great application in CN already, I'm not sure why you would do it...except for your comment about loving to adopt some of Rob Dunning's TH ideas for use in CN if you could. Hmmmm.

Chip Bearden
  #39  
Old July 15th 18, 05:21 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

See how easy that was? Spend your money now while you can enjoy it
rather than using it to pay someone else to wipe your chin when you
drool... Said with affection. ;-)

Taken.

Unfortunately, there's always another $2000 item that a conscientious soaring pilot simply must buy: new parachute, a square chute, PowerFLARM, transponder, ADS-B, enhanced satellite tracker (ok, not as much money), better flight computer, better vario, etc. To paraphrase an attribution of the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, a few thousand here, a few thousand there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Chip Bearden
  #40  
Old July 16th 18, 07:48 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Brian[_1_]
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Default Top Hat Question (XCSoar?)

Maybe a bit off Topic. I have been using Tophat for a few years now. I started running it on a Nook Simple Touch. I loved the black and white sunlight readable display, but after a couple years the Nook seem to be getting slow. So I tried a Nexus 7. I liked the color display (hint turning the Terrain display off helps a lot) but it is not near as sunlight readable as the Nook was, but was good enough 95% of the time or better. Only when the sun was behind me would I occasionally get a glare on it that made it unreadable until I turned or shaded it with something. After a year or two I upgraded to a Nexus 2 - 2013 which had a slightly better display and was faster.

The other thing I really like about the Nexus is it is a totally self contained unit, It has it's own GPS so you can literally just carry it to the airplane and go fly. I had K6 Bluetooth adapter attached to my FLarm so with a bit of configuration it was receiving Flarm Data as well. I do sometimes connect external power to it, but the Nexus usually will last a 5 hour flight just fine.

Last year I put a S80 in my glider and added the Bluetooth module, It works pretty well but the bluetooth module is not quite as robust as the K6 module. The S80 bluetooths occasionally(almost Rarely) requirs a restart of the tablet or S80 to get it to link up, but once linked I never have any trouble during the flight.

A couple weeks ago flying the Region 8 contest about 9am I discovered my Nexus 7 touch screen had died, it would not respond to any touch commands. at 10:30 after the pilots meeting I went to the local Walmart and purchased a Samsung Tab 7 8gb for under $90. (they only had a display model available, normally $120). By the 1pm launch I had updated the software on the Tablet, installed Tophat, the Waypoint, airspace, and terrain files and had configured it to communicate with my S80 and had a working flight computer for the day. In summery I went from no flight computer other than the (S80 that I use for a backup) to my normal working flight computer in under about 2 hours and under a $100 investment. Try that when your dedicated flight computer dies, it may cost you more than that in just shipping and won't be a same day fix.

I am actually very pleased with the Samsung, The display is as good or even slightly better than the Nexus and it is faster. I wish it had a bit more memory than 8GB but does have a place for a MicroSD card if I need more space. I ran it with power connected, so not sure how the battery life is with it standalone, but It seems like it would be as good as the Nexus.

I think Tophat works very well, I only wish it did a bit better job a providing tactical Flarm traffic information. I don't use it for traffic avoidance but it would be nice if it kept track of Flarm traffic a bit better. Something like LK8000 or some other displays (Avionic) that show where traffic was or might be even though the signal is gone. With the right display it could even show Statistical climb information about the other gliders thermal and even mark a likely location to intercept the same thermal even after other glider has left the thermal. That way I don't have to be looking at the display as much or take near as long to trying and calculate information that computers are very good at doing.

To the original question, with nothing other than the minimum required changes Tophat, on the Nexus and Samsung, automatically switches between Thermalling and Cruise mode with and retains the zoom level for each screen, usually zoomed in for thermalling and zoomed out for cruise for me. I have never had issues with this no not sure why others seem to be having issues.

Brian
 




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